Unassessed Waters

Members are also working with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to assess streams throughout the region for reproducing trout populations. This work began in 2010 and was expanded in 2011 due to the success of the project.

The Unassessed Waters Initiative was started in 2010 by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to survey and record streams containing wild trout populations. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has estimated that Pennsylvania contains over 86,000 miles of streams. Prior to starting the Unassessed Waters Initiative, PFBC surveyed 21,654 miles of Pennsylvania streams. Of that, 9,372 miles were documented to contain wild trout populations. Another 3,305 miles of streams were added to the list because they were upstream of documented streams containing trout populations.

In the first three years of the Unassessed Waters Initiative commenced, the state of Pennsylvania has recorded over 4,000 more miles of streams containing wild trout populations. The PFBC Partners such as DEP, Lycoming College, Susquehanna University, and Trout Unlimited have helped assess nearly 2,350 miles of streams of which over 50% contain wild trout populations. Of the rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout populations found, nearly 95% have been recorded brook trout.

It is important to measure the wild trout populations in the streams in order for DEP and PFBC to determine the appropriate regulations for each stream. By combining DEP’s water quality assessment with PFBC’s wild trout assessments, Pennsylvania will have a better idea of which streams need tighter environmental control. In fact, the largest threat to undocumented wild trout populations is poor water quality due to lack of stream use regulation.